PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys -- Life On The Road

After a musician client left the tax office this morning, I lured Mike into telling me some more stories that we might call “life on the road.” I am only allowed to repeat these with a promise of anonymity.

My favorite is about a singer who Mike and other musicians tormented relentlessly. The singer was talented and popular with audiences, but, for reasons better left unsaid, band members didn’t like him. The fact that he was jumpy and a little paranoid only encouraged their little reindeer games.

These pranks took place back when everyone smoked, and singers thought it looked cool to smoke on stage. But this singer’s open packs of cigarettes provided a ready invitation for his tormenters’ tricks. The guys in the band would buy a pack of Singer’s brand of cigs and insert “loads” into the smokes. Mike explained that loads are small bits of explosive material similar to the paper roll you used as a kid in cap guns – loud but harmless. Loads were readily available at local magic stores.

When the opportunity arose, one of the guys would slip a couple of loaded cigarettes into Singer’s open pack. Then they’d wait. When Singer least expected it, his cigarette would explode, he’d jump and yell, and the band had fun. Because Singer would randomly pull a cigarette from the pack, the band never knew when the fun would start. Sometimes on break in the large club, the guys would suddenly hear from the other side of the room a loud POW followed by “sonuvab****!!”

Obviously, Singer knew it was his band that was torturing him. It wasn’t the first time. Previous band members had popped balloons behind his back to startle him. As a solution, Singer brought an unopened pack of cigs to the gig. He opened the pack, tearing off the foil top, and was tapping it down in an overly enthusiastic manner when several cigarettes flew out and scattered about the stage. All the band members carried loaded cigarettes, so the one closest to the errant cigarettes tossed a couple of tainted ones into the mix.

Singer closely guarded the pack, but later that evening when a cigarette from the freshly opened pack blew up in his mouth, Singer swore that enemies were loading his smokes at the factory.

At the end of a night at that standing gig, Singer frequently stopped in at another club. Reports would filter back to Mike of random cigarette explosions and epithets, further confusing Singer whose band members were nowhere in sight.

Oh, those boys.

But moving on.

With another group, Mike was booked for a large, outdoor festival. During the wait time that always occurs before such performances, Mike and the drummer were standing by a car in the parking area chatting with one of the promoters. The drummer admired the festival tee shirt worn by the promoter and, since the weather was balmy, the promoter said, “Here, take this one,” and started peeling off the shirt.

The group’s star, standing about 10 feet away talking with other people, noticed the tee-shirt coming off and immediately concluded that his drummer was about to get a whoopin’. He sprinted the few feet, leaped onto the hood of the car and, despite being a quiet, peace-loving fellow, assumed a threatening, Hulk-like pose. Mike and the drummer had to do some fast-talking to convince the star that all was well and to get down off the car.

And then there was the member of a quite famous group who, to relax band members before taking the stage, would dangle monkey-like from back-stage scaffolding and do tricks -- or, when feeling even friskier, would light farts.

And you thought rock ‘n roll was all drugs and sex.

No comments: